Association speaks out

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Bundaberg and Districts secretary Terry Binyon is more than happy with the way Bundaberg Regional Council and the RSL organise the Anzac Day citizens’ parade.
Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Bundaberg and Districts secretary Terry Binyon is more than happy with the way Bundaberg Regional Council and the RSL organise the Anzac Day citizens’ parade. Max Fleet

THE Bundaberg Vietnam Veterans' Association has spoken out after two of its members last week likened the council-run Anzac Day citizens' parade to a "mardi gras" march.

Secretary Terry Binyon said the views of veterans John Joyce and Kevin Anderson were not shared by the association.

Mr Joyce was quoted in last Saturday's NewsMail saying the council had too much control over the parade, and did not follow military protocol, particularly when it came to who was appointed and saluted to on the dais.

"It's a citizens' parade - how can the council have too much control?" Mr Binyon said.

Mr Binyon said the claims the council was too controlling were "ridiculous".

"Because it's the 50th anniversary of our involvement in Vietnam, I approached the RSL," he said. "The RSL spoke with the council (and now) the Vietnam veterans are the lead people in the march."

Mr Joyce had also said it was protocol for the marching parade to salute a retired or serving officer of the rank major and above as they passed the dais, but said the council was not bestowing the honour on the correct person. However, Mr Binyon said a Vietnam War brigadier - a senior military officer - had actually been asked to share the dais in this year's parade alongside navy lieutenant Reg Rayner.

"John has been in contact with (the brigadier) and he knew he was on the dais," he said. "If you say that a lowly service person can't be on the dais, then are you also saying the mayor can't be on the dais on her own parade?"

Mr Binyon said if the two veterans in question were not happy with the parade, the answer was simple - if you don't like it, don't go.

"If it was an army parade, you would go and everything is done by military protocol," he said.

"In this case, it's a citizens' parade. The council sent out invitations and it's up to the organisation whether they accept or don't."

Mr Binyon said while the association may "disagree on a few minor things", it was happy with the way the parade was organised.

Topics:  anzac day

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